The plants and inspiration used in this week's show
This week we transformed the garden of Tony Jordan. Tony lost his wife to cancer just over a year ago, leaving Tony to bring up their teenage children alone. His wife Shelley-Ann dreamt of a garden and had big plans to create a space the whole family could enjoy, but within weeks of moving into their dream home they were dealt the devastating news that Shelley had pancreatic cancer.
Before her death, Shelley had left notes for the children. One of the things she said was that she wanted a wooden swing to be placed in the garden. After she died, Tony went to a local garden shop to pick one out. He found one that he liked, and at that very moment the song that played in church at Shelley’s funeral was playing in the garden centre. This prompted him to buy it, as he took it as a sign. Tony assembled the swing, but couldn’t bring himself to actually put it in the garden.
This is where I come in: one of the jobs that Alan tasked me with was to find a suitable place to position the swing seat and surround it with plants that give a feeling of relaxation.
It was an emotionally tough challenge, but in the end Tony and his family seemed overjoyed. This garden was big, the challenges were tough and the weather was unrelentingly hot but in the end, we created one of my most favourite on the show – and that’s really saying something.
Here is a list of some of the plants we used.
Myrtle communis is a lovely evergreen shrub with delicate white flowers. It likes a sunny spot and well-drained soil.
Paulownia tomentosa, also known as a Foxglove tree, has big handsome leaves and delicately fragranced lilac flowers. It’s deciduous and likes well-drained soil – be sure to plant somewhere you have room for it.
Olive trees (Olea europaea) are evergreen trees that instantly give a Mediterranean feel to a space. They are incredibly drought resistant, however they are not entirely hardy, especially in the north of the country. If in doubt take them inside to a conservatory or greenhouse over winter.
Callistemon or bottlebrush plant is extremely exotic looking. It likes a sheltered spot in the sunshine and free-draining soil. If growing in the north of the country, then plant in a pot and bring inside over winter to protect from frost.
Nandina is commonly called sacred bamboo. It’s evergreen and has the most lovely, elegant foliage and bamboo-like habit. It likes shelter and free-draining soil, and looks fantastic planted with Japanese maples.
Magnolia Grandiflora has big, glossy, leathery leaves and highly scented, huge cream flowers in late summer. It’s happy in sun or partial shade, and is a great statement tree. It will get big so make sure to position somewhere you have room.
Cistus are an evergreen shrub, the flowers of which come in a variety of colours. They like sunshine and free draining conditions and they’re pretty hardy, so plant them in the right spot and they will reliably perform for years.
Convolvulus cneorum is a small spreading evergreen shrub with silvery leaves and white, trumpet shaped flowers. Looks good in a raised bed or at the edge of a path.
Descampsia ‘Goldtau’ is an evergreen tufted grass which sends up golden panicles in the summer. Will cope with partial shade and looks good planted en masse.
Verbena rigida is a perennial which grows up to 60cm and has violet coloured flowers. It looks great weaving in and out of grasses.